Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 221–231 | Cite as

Molecular taxonomy confirms morphological classification of deep-sea hydrothermal vent copepods (Dirivultidae) and suggests broad physiological tolerance of species and frequent dispersal along ridges

  • Sabine GollnerEmail author
  • Diego Fontaneto
  • Pedro Martínez Arbizu
Original Paper


Dirivultid copepods are among the most successful organisms at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, as this family includes 50 morphologically described species. We studied COI diversity of some species in various geographical areas and vent fluid regimes, in order to gain a better understanding of true species diversity, dispersal strategies, and evolution. DNA taxonomy revealed the same entities as described with morphological characters. No cryptic species were detected. With the help of COI analyses, it was possible to identify a new species and match the dimorphic sexes of another species. The geographical distance between vents, as well as the extreme physico-chemical environment, are thought to affect the gene flow of fauna. We could not detect any sequence differences within species among different geographical scales (up to 2,000 km) or different vent fluid regimes. We suggest that Dirivultidae have relatively high gene flow between vents and are able to disperse relatively easy along ridges. Further, they have a broad physiological tolerance and thus might not have undergone speciation in response to heterogeneity caused by vent fluids.


Meiofauna Fluid Regime East Pacific Rise Guaymas Basin Copepodid Stage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We warmly thank Charles Fisher (PennState University, USA), Monika Bright (University of Vienna, Austria), and Stefan Sievert (WHOI, USA) for inviting us on their cruises allowing us to collect excellent copepod material. Special thanks go to the captains, crew, pilots, and scientists (especially Ingrid Kolar, Laura Riavitz (both University of Vienna), and Dominique Cowart (PennState University, USA)) for their amazing help during the sea-going expeditions. Timothy G. Barraclough provided the GMYC code programmed in R2.9.2. This work was supported by the ChEss Mini-Grant (to SG), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (to SG), the Austrian Science Foundation grant FWF (P20190-B17 to M. Bright), and the US National Science Foundation grant (OCE 0732333 to C. Fisher). We are indebted to the Alfred Sloan Foundation for their generous support to the Census of Marine Life, to which this manuscript contributes.

Supplementary material

227_2010_1553_MOESM1_ESM.doc (276 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 275 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Gollner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diego Fontaneto
    • 2
    • 3
  • Pedro Martínez Arbizu
    • 1
  1. 1.Deutsches Zentrum für Marine Biodiversitätsforschung (DZMB), Forschungsinstitut SenckenbergWilhelmshavenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Invertebrate ZoologySwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonAscot BerkshireUK

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